Question: What are the grounds for imposing ‘reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression by a citizen, under the Constitution of India? X, a resident of Patna, migrates to Madras and establishes a cloth shop there which is commonly known as the ‘North Indian Shop; Some local residents of Madras organize… Read More »

Question: What are the grounds for imposing ‘reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression by a citizen, under the Constitution of India? X, a resident of Patna, migrates to Madras and establishes a cloth shop there which is commonly known as the ‘North Indian Shop; Some local residents of Madras organize picketing at X’s shop and dissuade customers from purchasing cloth from that shop. Decide, if the above acts of picketing and dissuading...

Question: What are the grounds for imposing ‘reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression by a citizen, under the Constitution of India? X, a resident of Patna, migrates to Madras and establishes a cloth shop there which is commonly known as the ‘North Indian Shop; Some local residents of Madras organize picketing at X’s shop and dissuade customers from purchasing cloth from that shop. Decide, if the above acts of picketing and dissuading by Madras residents are protected by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India which guarantees to every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression. Give reasons for your answer. [BJS 1979]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What are the grounds for imposing ‘reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression by a citizen, under the Constitution of India?]

Answer

The object of all freedoms and restrictions is to reach social order or maintenance of public order. No freedom can be absolute or completely unrestricted. Accordingly, Article 19(1)(2) of the Indian Constitution lays down reasonable limitations to the freedom of speech and expression in matters affecting:

  1. Sovereignty and integrity of the State
  2. Security of the State
  3. Friendly relations with foreign countries
  4. Public order
  5. Decency and morality
  6. Contempt of court
  7. Defamation
  8. Incitement to an offense

The phrase “reasonable restriction” connotes that the limitation imposed on a person in the enjoyment of the right should not be arbitrary or of an excessive nature, beyond what is required in the interests of the public.

The concept of public order includes every ordinary breach of public order like a riot, affray. Public order is something more than ordinary maintenance of law and order and is synonymous with ‘public peace, safety and tranquillity.

The restriction on freedom of speech and expression is based on the ground of public order which was added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 to meet the situation from the decision of the Supreme Court in Romesh Thapar v. State of Madras (1950) S.C.R. 594.), the court struck down a law banning the entry of a journal in the State of Madras in the Interest of public order because of Article. 19 (2) did not contain the expression ‘public order. To meet the situation arising from this decision the expression ‘public order’ was inserted in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
In Ramji Lal Modi v. State of U.P (AIR 1957 SC 620) case, the Supreme Court interpreted the words ‘in the interest of public order as wider than ‘for the maintenance of public order and, therefore, a law providing for curbing the activities which have a tendency to cause public disorder is valid

Based on the above arguments, it can be evidently said that in the present case at hand, the acts of picketing and dissuading by Madras resident if affecting the public peace and order and hence is not at all protected by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India which guarantees to every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-06-01T05:44:44+05:30
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